For most athletes tight leg muscles are a common problem and lead to decreased performance. Regular massage is one of the best ways to reduce muscle shortening and increase range of motion in joints. Muscle shortening occurs during exercise, with each contraction requiring stretching to retain muscle length. In the body the antagonist muscle will naturally stretch the shortened muscle however, over time the active muscle will gradually assume a shorter length. Massage and stretching can be used to return the muscle to its original length. During the treatment techniques such as “stripping” may be used. “Stripping” refers to deep tissue massage on the affected muscles. The therapist may also use stretches and muscle energy techniques to assist in the lengthening of the muscle.
Often, athletes can notice the change in the state of the legs by the end of a single treatment and a series of treatments can make a significant change to the athlete’s physical well being. The muscle groups that need attention will vary between individuals and sports, however calf muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps are the most commonly treated.